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Thought Leadership

10 Apr 2020

Dr Vikram Patel, Pershing Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, delivering the keynote address at Leading Minds 2019 conference at UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.

At the same time, technology presents unprecedented opportunities for breaking longstanding barriers and bottlenecks. Research and evidence on children and young people are more accessible to policy makers than ever before. To adapt to change and harness the benefits of enhanced knowledge, technology and prosperity, UNICEF Innocenti will focus increasingly on convening and creating shared value partnerships to accelerate the pace of change for children.


Leading Minds Conferences

In 2019 the inaugural Leading Minds conference brought together the world’s leading thinkers, scientists, innovators and young people, to discuss new evidence and identify bold answers on child and adolescent mental health. Each year a high-level Leading Minds conference will convene in Florence a specific deep dive into a core theme selected as one of the most pressing issues facing the future of childhood. Realizing this purpose will take full advantage of latest technologies and convene across a spectrum of formats and media. In 2020 Leading Minds Online – a series of virtual seminars – will utilize the same blend of convening as it did in person to connect, listen and share, and explore recommendations and solutions on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on children.


UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival 

Thought leadership in the 21st Century must range beyond science and government to include the world of fine art and culture. World cinema is one of the most powerful and popular arenas for translating knowledge into connection and action. The UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival, inaugurated in Florence in 2019, demonstrated how global film narratives on childhood could be the catalyst for new awareness and linkages for children. With the first edition attracting 1200 film submissions from more than 100 countries, UIFF will resume in 2021 as a regular fixture on the international film festival circuit in collaboration with the Region of Tuscany.

The Future of Childhood

We will engage the world’s leading minds in in-depth, one-on-one dialogue and produce a regularly appearing podcast called The Future of Childhood.


Each year young scholars and researchers, particularly from the global south, will be selected to spend a period of months at UNICEF Innocenti to pursue an area of research interest on child rights.